Trent University
Trent University is a liberal arts and science-oriented institution located along the Otonabee River in Peterborough, Ontario, Canada. The enabling legislation is the Trent University Act, 1962-63. The University was founded through the efforts of a citizens' committee interested in creating a university to serve the Trent valley. The chancellor of Trent University is Tom Jackson and Dr. Steven E. Franklin is the president and vice-chancellor. The Symons campus of Trent is approximately 5.6 km2, over half of which is a part of Trent's Nature Areas, an ecologically diverse wild-life preserve. It is divided into a series of colleges: Champlain, Lady Eaton, Catharine Parr Traill, Otonabee, Peter Gzowski, and Julian Blackburn. Each college has its own residence hall, dining room, and student government. The exception to this rule is Julian Blackburn, which is a non-residential college and home to Trent's 1,700 part time students. The campus plan and the original colleges were designed by the Canadian architect Ron Thom. A large portion of the main campus consists of land that was donated by GE Canada. This donation included a functioning hydroelectric power plant dating from the 1890s, and which still generates a substantial portion of the university's electricity; the power plant is being updated and a second generating plant being considered. Trent also runs a full- and part-time program in Oshawa at the new Thornton Rd. campus, with an enrolment of over 800 students. The university is represented in Canadian Interuniversity Sport by the Trent Excalibur. Some of the more notable specialized programs at Trent include the Queen's University/Trent concurrent education program, the Trent University School of Education, a joint program with Fleming College, in which students earn a B.Sc.F.S. in Forensic Science, as well as a B.Sc.N. program in Nursing.

Trent University came about from public discussion in 1957 about the possibility of opening a post-secondary institution in the Trent Valley. The policy of university education initiated in the 1960s responded to population pressure and the belief that higher education was a key to social justice and economic productivity for individuals and for society. Trent University is a non-denominational, public institution founded in Peterborough, Ontario. Trent University was granted a provincial university by Trent University Act, 1963 In 1963, the university opened Rubidge Hall, Traill College, and Peter Robinson College in 1964. The governor general, Georges Vanier officially opened Trent University in 1964. The governance was modelled on the provincial University of Toronto Act of 1906 which established a bicameral system of university government consisting of a senate (faculty), responsible for academic policy, and a board of governors (citizens) exercising exclusive control over financial policy and having formal authority in all other matters. The president, appointed by the board, was to provide a link between the 2 bodies and to perform institutional leadership. The first students were admitted in September, 1964. Although Trent University is predominantly undergraduate, graduate programs are offered at the master's and doctoral level.

Catharine Parr Traill College
Named after local biologist and writer Catharine Parr Traill, this college was one of the first to be opened, in 1964. It serves as the base for the Departments of English, Cultural Studies, and Canadian Studies. The college also includes the Alan Wilson reading room as well as the Frost Centre for Canadian Studies, where the M.A. and PhD. programs are housed. Traill College consists of Wallis Hall, Bradburn, Stewart, Langton and Crawford Houses, which are residential; as well as Scott House " the original location of Catharine Parr Traill College in its entirety " Kerr house, and the Principal's Lodge which houses the on-line political and cultural theory journal, Theory and Event. By 2004 the University was considering either closing the college or converting it to some other use. Following prolonged debate the University decided in 2007 to convert Traill from an undergraduate to a graduate facility.

Champlain College
Located on Symons Campus along the Otonabee River, this college was opened in 1967. It is named after the early 17th century explorer Samuel de Champlain, who explored the Otonabee area in 1615 and founded Quebec City in 1608 and whose sword is featured in the Trent crest. It originally served as an all-male residence, along with Peter Robinson College. The college is home to the Political Studies department and the Trent University Alumni Association.

Lady Eaton College
The fourth college, established in 1968, it is named in honour of Flora McCrea Eaton, Lady Eaton, one of the original sponsors of the university. It contains the offices for the departments of History, Philosophy, Women's Studies, and Modern Languages. It did originally serve as the Female Dorm, and still today has an all female section.

Otonabee College
Otonabee College was founded in 1972. The buildings of Otonabee range along a cedar ridge overlooking the river from which the College derives its name (“fast water” in Nishnaabee). To the east of the College are located the new buildings of the DNA Cluster and the Forensic Science program; beyond them a rolling rural landscape with a magnificent stand of blue spruce. To the west are Peter Gzowski College and the Science buildings, leading to the Faryon pedestrian bridge, which provides easy access to the Bata Library, the Athletics Complex, and the colleges on the West Bank. Eight “houses” connected by an interior walkway called “the Link,” make up Otonabee’s residence. The residence is co-educational, although there are single-sex areas within the houses. Each house contains single and double study-bedrooms, a kitchenette, and a commons area. A 2009 re-furnishing of some double rooms made use of loft beds to convert these into triples. Past “the Link,” (a path leading to the instructional area of the College which bisects the residences) are a set of faculty offices, the mailboxes, College Porter’s office, and the main dining hall looking to the north and east of the grounds. A large College Commons is located close to the Food Court/Dining Hall, with large-screen televisions and many comfortable chairs for relaxing. Daily lunches are offered in a lounge atmosphere most afternoons. The academic wing is directly connected with the Science Buildings and houses the School of Education, the departments of Psychology, Anthropology, Sociology, and Computing & Information Systems. Teaching facilities include a 125-seat lecture theatre, various seminar rooms, laboratories for Anthropology and Psychology and Computer Science, and a Sociology resource room, offices for faculty in many of the disciplines in arts and sciences, and the Wenjack Theatre, which provides a venue for multimedia lecture presentations as well as theatrical productions by amateur and professional companies. Nearby are the Archaeology Centre, Mackenzie House, and a wildlife sanctuary with walks and ski trails. Students at Otonabee play a major role in organizing and conducting cultural, social and athletic activities. The student government (Cabinet) and its committees cooperate with the College Office and dons in planning and delivering a variety of events for both its non-resident and resident members: visiting scholars, artists, musicians, scientists; College dinners and dances; Fall and Winter College Weekend; and intramural co-educational competitions in a number of sports. Members of the College also participate in the wider academic, social, cultural and athletic activities of the University and the city of Peterborough, including various forms of community service.

Peter Gzowski College
Founded in 2003, it is the newest of the Trent University colleges. It is named for CBC broadcaster Peter Gzowski, who was Trent's 8th chancellor. At one point the college had two campuses: on Peterborough's Argyle Street in buildings leased from the Eastern Pentecostal Bible College, which housed the Teacher Education and Nursing programs; and the Enweying building on the main Symons campus ("enweying" means "the way we speak together" in the Anishinaabe language.) Enweying housed the Indigenous Studies, Economics, Mathematics and Business Administration programs. Programs at the Argyle location were moved to Enweying prior to the 2006-2007 academic year.

Peter Robinson College
The first college to open at the university, it is dedicated to Peter Robinson, the member of the Legislative Assembly of Upper Canada who oversaw emigration of Irish settlers to the area in the 1820s. The city of Peterborough is also named in his honour. The college used to have a residence (apartment style) until its sale to a private landlord in 2004. The college was shut down by the university administration, although many Peter Robinson students and faculty protested the closure. By referendum in March, 2003, Trent students voted to create and operate a non-profit educational and cultural student facility, to be shared with the community as a whole. Chosen to house this new facility was Sadleir House: one of the original university buildings at the PR site, it holds special historical significance for both the Trent and Peterborough communities. Funded by a new student levy and organized as the P.R. Community and Student Association (PRCSA), the students' offer to purchase the property was accepted by the current non-university owners. The Trust secured a mortgage for the property and the students took possession of Sadleir House on 27 February 2004. Currently, each student pays a levy fee each year of over $25 to support the mortgage on the house. Among other things, Sadleir House contains the offices of the Arthur, the Trent student newspaper, and the Sadleir House Alternative Library. Another building on the premises, housing Trent Radio headquarters, is also affiliated with the University.

Julian Blackburn College
This college offers programs for part-time students in Peterborough. It is named after Julian Blackburn, who was one of the original professors who helped establish Trent. Blackburn has no residences, as it handles the part-time students, but the Julian Blackburn building is home to Trent's administration, as well as medical, counseling, printing, parking, registrar, financial aid, student affairs, student accounts, and several other important university services.

Trent in Oshawa
Trent runs a satellite program in Oshawa, and it has a history of over 30 years of offering courses in the Oshawa area. Located originally at the campus of the University of Ontario Institute of Technology and Durham College, Trent-in-Oshawa is building its own campus on Thornton Road to be inaugurated during the 2010-2011 academic year. Over 1100 students attend Trent-in-Oshawa, which is home to a number of tenure-track professors, as well as to staff who are based at the main campus. Students can study full- or part-time for degrees in Anthropology, Biology, Computer Information Systems, Cultural Studies, English, Environmental & Resource Studies, History, Psychology, Sociology and Women's Studies.

Graduate studies
Trent has a number of graduate programs including Anthropology M.A. (current focus is in physical anthropology and archaeology), Applications of Modelling in the Natural & Social Sciences M.A./M.Sc., English M.A., History M.A., Theory, Culture and Politics M.A., Environmental and Life Sciences (formerly known as Watershed Ecosystems) Ph. D / M.Sc, and Materials Sciences M.Sc. The Frost Centre for Canadian Studies and Indigenous Studies offers an interdisciplinary Canadian Studies and Indigenous Studies M.A. program. In addition, the Centre offers, in collaboration with Carleton University, a Canadian Studies Ph.D. program, which was the first of its kind in Canada. The university's Indigenous/Native Studies program was the first in Canada, and only the second in North America. The new Ph.D Program in Cultural Studies is the first in Canada. Trent was also recently approved for Psychology M.A./M.Sc. graduate studies.

Indigenous Studies
Trent University’s First Peoples House of Learning houses the Indigenous Studies Department and a focus for Indigenous intellectual and cultural activities on campus. The Indigenous Studies Department offers undergraduate and PhD programs designed to meet the needs of Indigenous and non-Indigenous students. Trent University offers an innovative program in Indigenous Environmental Studies in addition to a specialized Indigenous Learning Program that provides access for people of Indigenous heritage. The First Peoples House of Learning also houses Nozhem, a First Peoples performance space.

Notable alumni
  • Linwood Barclay, (journalist)
  • Paul Boghossian, (philosopher)
  • Lucie Edwards, (Canadian diplomat, High Commissioner)
  • David Gill. Head of Public Affairs, Canadian Embassy, The Hague
  • Mani Haghighi, (filmmaker)
  • Richard Harrison, (poet)
  • Morgan Michaud, ( B.Sc.)
  • Chris Hodgson, (former Ontario government cabinet minister)
  • Yann Martel, (writer)
  • David McGuffin, ( CBC News, Africa Correspondent)
  • Leah McLaren, (writer)
  • James Motluk, (filmmaker)
  • Paul Nicholas Mason, writer
  • James Orbinski, ( Doctors without Borders/ Nobel Prize)
  • David Patterson, CEO and Founder of Northwater Capital Management
  • Nancy Anne Sakovich, (model, actress)
  • Andrew Steele, political activist and writer
  • Stephen Stohn, entertainment lawyer and television producer ( Degrassi franchise)
  • Ian Tamblyn, Juno Award-winning folk music singer-songwriter, record producer and playwright
  • Don Tapscott, (writer/ futurist)
  • Christl Verduyn, Professor of English literature and Canadian Studies; recipient of the Governor General's International Award for Canadian Studies (2006)

  • Arthur is a student-published newspaper at Trent. The paper is distributed on the Trent campus and around the Peterborough community free of charge; All students pay a non-refundable levy, currently $9.25, in their student fees to the Arthur.
  • Absynthe Magazine is a student paper at Trent. It was founded in 1999. It is a submissions-based publication, reliant on members of the Trent community to provide content. It is, like Arthur, distributed free of charge. Absynthe receives a refundable levy from each full-time student of Trent University.
  • Trent Radio operates the community's student sponsored community radio (formerly classified as student radio) broadcast facility - CFFF 92.7fm. Full-time students pay a membership fee as part of their student fees to support Trent Radio activities.
Here is every new student's guide to Peterborough... Trent U Connect: New Student's Handbook


  • Leslie Frost (1967”“1973)
  • Dr. Eugene Forsey (1973”“1977)
  • William Morton (1977”“1980)
  • Margaret Laurence (1981”“1983)
  • John J. Robinette (1984”“1987)
  • Dr. Kenneth Hare (1988”“1995)
  • Mary Simon (1995”“1999)
  • Peter Gzowski (1999”“2002)
  • Dr. Roberta Bondar (2003”“2009)
  • Tom Jackson (current)

There are many varsity and intramural sports at Trent. Trent competes at the varsity level under the name Excalibur in men's and women's rugby union, volleyball, fencing, rowing, competitive swimming, and soccer. Trent University installed a new artificial turf athletics field in the summer of 2005. The field was built as part of Trent's bid to hold the 2007 U19 Women's Lacrosse Championships. There is seating for 1,000 spectators. Trent Summer Sports Camp, a sports and leadership camp affiliated with the university's athletics department, offers a full range of activities to children 4 to 16 during the summer months. The camp's director is the Ultimate Warrior. Trent University takes pride in its rowing club. Each autumn, Trent in conjunction with the Peterborough Rowing Club hosts the Head of the Trent rowing regatta, a 5 kilometre head-style race along the Trent Canal and Otonabee River, finishing under the Faryon Bridge on the Trent University campus. The day-long event is open to university, club, and high school crews. Head of the Trent weekend is also homecoming at Trent University and includes a wide range of athletic and festive events. The Head of The Trent is one of the largest events of its kind in the world, and the largest single-day regatta in North America. A new rowing/paddling tank, named in honour of former head coach Carol Love, was recently opened in the new Trent Community Sports and Recreation Center (formerly the Trent Athletics Complex). This complements the new Pond-to-Podium project ngoing in Peterborough as part of a larger talent identification effort. Trent's lacrosse team went through the 2008 campaign with a perfect regular season of 10-0 winning the Eastern Championship. However fell short in the Bagataway Championships to the eventual CUFLA champions the Guelph Gryphons. All-Canadians included Mack O'Brien, Josh Wasson and Kalvin Thomas. Thomas was named the league's Most Out Standing Goalie with Wasson earning an honorable mention for league MVP. Jesse Thomas and his coaching staff were selected as Coaching Staff of the Year in 2008 by their peers for leading Trent to a perfect 10-0 in the regular season and reaching the Baggataway National Championship Semi Finals in only their second season of play. The 2009 CUFLA season saw Trent's lacrosse team reach its 2nd consecutive Baggataway Final Four Championship. Veteran leadership from Senior players such as Josh Wasson Mack O'Brien Seamus McGee and Brock Boynton as well as Juniors Brock Koczka Sean McGee and Kalvin Thomas earned the Trent Excalibur team to a 8-2 season finishing first in the Eastern Conference. Trent's cricket team recently went billeting (2006) in New Zealand, competing with teams from south eastern Asia to Australian teams. They had a great showing in the international tournament ultimately losing to Indonesia in the quarter finals. This week-long tournament involved teams from over twenty different countries from the region. However, the loss was rife with controversy. During the three-day struggle with Indonesia and on the last day a sticky wicket caused Trent's star player, Reginald Walkterton III, to lose grip of the bat and accidentally hit the ball with his elbow. The cricket ball went forward and Reginald ran and scored the tying run. However, the referees declared the run to be illegal since the ball was struck by an elbow as opposed to the bat and Indonesia won the game.

Clubs and Groups
Trent has a variety of clubs and groups, the most popular group includes both hippies and hipsters, including a number of theatre groups, social interest groups, newspapers, religious groups, political chapters and academic societies. These groups include the Peterborough chapter of the Ontario Public Interest Research Group, Anne Shirley Theatre Company, Sustainable Trent, the Centre for Gender and Social Justice (previously known as Trent Women's Centre), and Canadian Union of Public Employees Local 3908. These groups are showcased during Introductory Seminar Week (ISW) for the benefit of new students. The university is also served by the Trent Emergency First Response Team (TUEFRT), a student run organization whose members provide emergency first aid to all students, visitors and staff on campus to .

Labour Unions and Associations
Part-time contract faculty (Course Instructors, Clinical Instructors, Tutorial Leaders, etc.) and Student Academic Workers (Graduate Teaching Assistants, Markers) are represented by the Canadian Union of Public Employees (CUPE) Local 3908. Support Staff (secretaries, maintenance staff, caretakers, groundskeepers, assistants, etc.) are part of the Ontario Public Service Employees Union (OPSEU) Local 365. Food service workers, employed by food service corporation Aramark Canada, are represented by the Canadian Union of Public Employees (CUPE) Local 3205. Aramark Canada holds a contractual monopoly for food services at Trent, including student meal plans which are required for all students in residence. Two student-run enterprises, The Seasoned Spoon, and the Ceilie (both located in Champlain College) are exceptions to Aramark's contractual monopoly. Professors (Full, Associate, and Assistant) both full-time tenured and part-time are represented by the Trent University Faculty Association (TUFA).

Notes and references

Histories of the University
  • Cole, A.O.C. 'Trent: The Making of a University, 1957-1987.' Peterborough: Trent University, 1992.
  • Hansen, Bertrand L., Brenda McKelvie, and Donald F. Theall. "Ontario's Trent University: Rational and Different An Illustrative Case of Selective Government Intervention." In Readings in Canadian Higher Education, edited by Cecily Watson. Toronto: OISE Press, 1988.

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